Education (Schools) Bill — Power of local authority to continue to assist pupils — 10 Jun 1997

Clauses 3 to 7 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

The Second Deputy Chairman:

With this, it will be convenient to discuss new clause 3-- Power of charity to continue to assist pupils --

Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule agreed to.

Bill reported, without amendment.

Order for Third Reading read.

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

The Bill is one of the first of the new Government. It shows our commitment to education and our determination to have an education service that raises standards for the many, not the few. It makes it absolutely clear that we have turned our back on policies based on the belief that only a few can succeed or that to reach the top one has to escape from the maintained sector.

The Bill will release funds that we will use to cut to 30 or fewer class sizes for all five, six and seven-year-olds. That pledge was one of the reasons why the people elected us to govern. Today, less than six weeks after the general election, we are passing legislation that will provide the resources to enable us to keep our promise.

Throughout our consideration of the Bill, we have been reminded that the maintained sector was run for the past 18 years by a Government who did not believe in its potential. We share the understandable concern that children should attend schools where they can achieve at the highest levels. We differ, in that Conservative Members such as the hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs. Gillan) believe that that cannot be done in the state sector.

Bright children pass examinations, go to universities and other institutions of further learning and take posts in all walks of life, at all levels, with all sorts of responsibilities, having been educated and given their life chances in the state system. The challenge for our country is not to devise ways of helping some to escape to the private sector but to ensure that all our pupils get the standard of education that can currently be found in the best of our state schools.

The resources that will be released through the Bill will be used to give a better start to the 440,000 five, six and seven-year-olds who are currently in classes of more than 30. Class sizes matter. They matter most in the early years, because children can get more attention, more teacher time and more space, and they can be taught in more manageable groups. It is not the only thing that matters and will not by itself solve all the problems that

10 Jun 1997 : Column 1011

we face in our education service, but we believe that it is a crucial part of our overall plans to raise standards for our children.

As I have illustrated, the socialism that Oscar Wilde proclaimed considered all human potential: not just the dazzling achievements of the few, but the unleashing of the potential of the many.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:--

The House divided: Ayes 399, Noes 147.

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (Aye)Minority (No)BothTurnout
Con0 147 (+2 tell)092.0%
Lab367 (+2 tell) 0088.5%
LDem27 0058.7%
PC3 0075.0%
SNP2 0033.3%
Total:399 147086.6%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

no rebellions

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